The SCAMPER Method (Part II)

Last week I introduced the SCAMPER model for innovation and creativity.  The model is used widely in innovation circles and provides a solid foundation in developing new ideas, even if you think you are not very creative or innovative. Asking some key questions is critical for success. 

Last week I wrote about the letter “S” for substitute and how trying to replace materials, ingredients, or use can bring a breakthrough.

The letter “C” was combining, and how bringing unlike things together, you can get a new product like rolling suitcases or phones with music and cameras.  This week we add “A” and “M” to the process.

3. “A” is for Adapt – Think of a solution for another problem you may mold to suit your situation. “Necessity is the mother of all inventions.” Sometimes conditions force us to try something totally outside the norm.  Here are some key questions:

  • Is there a solution you can take from somewhere else and mold it to suit this one?
  • Is there a similarity between the current situation and something else?
  • Is there another context you can position your product in?
  • What or who could you imitate to adapt this product or idea to fulfill another use or purpose?
  • What else does this product or idea resemble?
  • What other products can you utilize for inspiration?
  • Are there any ideas outside your field that you can incorporate?

An example of adapting was that Facebook was created for laptop and desktop browsers, but rapidly adapted to utilization on a smartphone.

4. “M” is for Modify/Magnify. Explore your idea with the thought of magnifying or modifying the situation or problem. Magnifying parts or the whole to your idea may enhance its perceived value or worth or provide new insight components or parts that are most significant. Here are some critical questions for modify/magnify:

Modify questions:

  • Can you change an aspect of your process or product to enhance it?
  • Can you think of ways to modify the shape, feel, appearances, color, or form of the product?
  • What can you add to change the product?
  • What aspect of the product can you make stronger to develop something new?
  • Is there a fresh twist?

Magnify questions:

  • Is there anything you can make bigger, higher, or broader?
  • What can you overstate or exaggerate?
  • Can you increase frequency?
  • Is it possible to include additional features or add extra value?
  • Is it possible to raise the price by increasing value?

An example of modifying is the personal assistant service Fancy Hands that changed the system from having everyone located in one place into operating as a dispersed organization that works by contract employees and apps, similar to Uber and Lyft.